HD Heads-Up: TV2 Enlivens Late-Night

The on-demand series that TVNZ has been heavily promoting, The Last Ship, will berth free-to-air on July 16.

The post-apocalyptic drama, which has just started its second season OnDemand, concerns the survivors of a pandemic on board a US Navy destroyer, and earned mixed reviews.

The New York Times endorsed it as a “dystopian thriller for optimists … [with] expertly rendered combat scenes and vivid depictions of danger

“As they roam the seas looking for other signs of life, they are more far more confident and civilized than the feral few on the AMC hit show The Walking Dead.

The Last Ship has the fashionably post-apocalyptic framework of cable shows like that, but its characters and can-do spirit echo those of more conventional network dramas like The Unit.

“The enemies aren’t zombies or other paranormal forces, but straggles of Al Qaeda terrorists and Russian naval officers who don’t think the war is over just because the world is.”

The Hollywood Reporter praised the Michael Bay production for its boatloads of action: “I watched three episodes, and at one point said out loud, ‘Blow up more shit’ and within two minutes I got what I wanted. Hard to fault a series for that.”

But TV Guide thought it “awfully square in its hokey heroics, solemn acting and predictable subplots” while the Boston Herald quipped: “The Last Ship is a naval recruitment ad for the apocalypse, and these waters look shallow. Careful before sticking your toe in.”

Another series that bowed in 2014, but which last only one season, will screen 11.45pm Tuesdays on TV2 from July 14.

Believe was created by Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and concerns a youngster with spooky powers who needs protection from an evil billionaire.

As Newsday said in its recommendation: “Don’t think. Just watch. Be happy.”

Most other critics weren’t as willing to suspend disbelief.

“As you’d hope from an hour directed by Cuarón, [the] premiere moves swiftly and surely, with well-shot action sequences and bursts of visual flare, ” USA Today said.

“Small touches of humour mix with large doses of pseudo-spiritual sentiment …. Yet for all those flourishes, nothing really shakes that feeling that it’s all been done before and it won’t end well.”

Variety argued the series “bears a more-than-passing resemblance to the Terminator franchise, with a child as the linchpin to the world’s future.

“Embracing mystical mumbo-jumbo and ignoring lapses in logic are required to enjoy the Cuaron-directed pilot, which sets up a Fugitive-style quest.” (But one that ran for only 13 episodes.)

Following Believe on TV2’s graveyard shift are reality newcomer Surgeon Oz and season two of NY ER, which will team for a 12.40am Wednesday double-bill.

Ending their TV2 seasons that week are The Undateables, 2 Broke Girls and Scandal.

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5 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: TV2 Enlivens Late-Night”

  1. Why is this series on so late? It deserves an earlier time slot where it will showcase what TV2 can do to keep what we had lost to TV1.

  2. I have imported The Last Ship Blu-ray from the US and have watched the first two episodes, which have been really good. Blu-ray picture and audio quality are both great. Season two of this show will be airing in the US shortly.

  3. Thanks, Mark. If you can stand the SD quality, TVNZ On-Demand has up to ep3 of S2 online.

  4. Thanks, Philip. I am not keen on SD quality and I am in no hurry to watch season 2 so will wait for the Blu-ray release of season 2 to come out.

  5. Quite right, too, Mark. You’re my kind of reader!

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